Letters Home

by

Fred Long

VIETNAM LETTERS
BIEN HOA TO PLEIKU

Aug. 1, 1967

Dear Mom,
This is my first letter from here. We left England AFB on July 28 and
arrived here yesterday.
They assigned my PO Box today. My address:
A3C Fred Long
Box 11315 Det 1-3 CSG
APO San Francisco 96227
I couldn't see much from the plane they brought us over in. It has only six
little windows and I wasn't near any of them. From England AFB we went to
Washington, Alaska, Japan and then Saigon. From Saigon we boarded a bus that
took us to the base at Bien Hoa. I think it was about a 30 mile drive.
While waiting in Saigon some woman came up to me and offered me some peanuts.
They looked funny, but I took a few and ate them. She said, "You here
before!" I told her no, she smiled and moved away. I thought if they didn't kill
her they wouldn't kill me, but they didn't taste very good to me.
I'm going to try to learn how to speak Vietnamese.
I got processed in today. It took all day. Someone stole my raincoat. I
left it on my bed and went to do something and when I came back it was gone. We
don't have our locker yet.
The people here are bad off. On the drive here it seems none are very
civilized. Going through Saigon was really something, naked children playing in the
streets. Filth and garbage piled around and a nauseating stench everywhere.
And on the drive it seems thousands were running around digging in the trash,
I guess looking for something to eat. Everyone seems so little with no fat
on them at all. Most of them look to be not over five feet tall. Some of them
are taller, but most of them are very short. All of them seem to wear the
same clothes. They look like pajamas, but I expect with the heat of this
climate they are comfortable.
I'll tell you about the trip over. We were all packed in the back of the
plain with our stuff. It wasn't bad. I decided to go forward to the cockpit and
see the pilot. He was nice. We were going over Utah and he told me that
over to the left was the Great Salt Lake. It's big. That is the only time I saw
anything from the air. We had TV dinners to eat on the way over. When we
stopped the three times I got something better to eat. We stopped over in
Washington and Japan for two hours and one hour in Alaska. We were in Saigon for
five hours.
We have a TV in the barracks, but the room is so small only about 10 people
can get in to see it so I haven't been in there. We also have Coke's.
Everything is fine on this end and hope same.
Fred

Aug. 2, 1967

Dear Mom,
Didn't work today. Starting tomorrow. A bunch of us walked about the base
and found out where a lot of the things are. It doesn't seem to be very bad
here. It's a nice base.
I don't know yet where our shop will be. They haven't given us a space yet.
Guess I'll learn that tomorrow.
Gun fire goes on all night and every time one of the guns sound I jump. It's
our guns and I guess I'll get use to it.
Got some money today. Ten dollars worth of pieasta's. Vietnamese money. I
haven't spent any of it yet.
We only get paid once a month so I'm not sending any home till I find out how
much I need. Then I'm going to make out an allotment and have them send it
to you. That way I'll never see the money. I'll be sending money orders up
till they start taking the money out.
I put my insurance in Doug's name. Just in case something should happen.
These people! Why don't they close the door? Every time, or almost every
time, they go out and leave the door open and the bugs come in. I have six
mosquito bites on me now.
Another thing I don't like is I don't have a locker. I'm living out of my
duffle bag. Every time I need something I have to dig through the bag for it.
I don't like that at all.
Another mosquito just came in. I'm going to declare war on them!!!
Fred.
P. S. It didn't do me any good to leave on the first plane the second one
got HERE first!.

Aug. 3, 1967

Dear Mom,
Had to go to work today for the first time. We didn't work with the A-37
jets but some of them went up for the first time. Watched them take off. Nice
watching them climb.
All we did today is clean up the shop and get everything (maybe). We still
have a lot to do to get everything ready.
For me the only thing important that happened today was I was sent with the
trash truck to empty the trash. Now on the way, which is about three miles, I
got to see the country. It is a beautiful country. To bad so much of it is
being destroyed. One thing that got to me was the trees. They are all in a
row. All about three feet apart. You can see all the way through the forest.
It's different.
The people here are very friendly. We can't talk to each other very well. I
only know one good word.
I like the base. I have got to go to the BX tomorrow and get some soap. I
still don't have a locker. They say they are trying to get them. Hope they do.
I get up to go to work at 5, sometimes before, and go to bed at 10. Get
plenty of sleep so far.
That's all for now.
Fred

Aug. 3, 1967

Dear Mom,
The letter I sent yesterday was on the 2nd. I have been a day ahead of time.
Sorry.
Well I still don't have a locker!! and I'm getting very mad. Tomorrow I'm
having it out with the First Shirt.
Painted the floor in the gun room. Used a push brush broom for the paint
brush. Just poured the paint on the floor and pushed it around. Didn't take
long. I also made a table for the shop and using it now. It's fairly good. A
little wobbly, but it works.
I don't have much to say, but I've been eating dust all day. This is the
dustiest place I've ever seen.
The locker thing is getting to me. I'm losing all kinds of things. I'm
thinking about making one. A box or something. That tomorrow too.
Nothing else to say.
Fred

Aug. 4, 1967

Dear Mom,
I made a locker today. It isn't very big, but I think I can get a lot of my
clothes in it.
We didn't have any water to drink today. Its also rained most of the day.
Started at 2:45 and it is 8:20 now. With all this water outside and we don't
have any for ourself. That gets me. Can't figure it!
At the same time the dust here is unbelievable. There isn't anyway to get
around it. Everything is covered with it. I wonder if it is like this all year
around?
A VC surrendered the other day. I'm told he was 14 years old and weighed
less than 85 pounds. He said he was told that we eat children, but since he was
so little he thought we wouldn't eat him.
What do you think about that? They must be just a bunch of kids, telling
them lies like that.
We are still working in one bunch. All of us together. Soon we will go into
12-hour shifts. I don't think we will have to work tomorrow.
Another thing. We have been restricted to base. That is we can't leave it.
The other day someone was walking in town and a little kid ran up and took
his watch. The guy took off after him down a dark alley. He should have let
the kid go because someone hit him over the head with a board and almost killed
him. He will be all right in a few weeks from what I've been told.
This wasn't the VC. It is just part of the crime wave they are having. Over
75% of the people are doing things that are against the law from what I
understand. Most of it is stealing.
I'm fine. I could use a shower, but other than that and a cut on my finger
I'm fine. Hope everything is OK there.
That is all for now.
Fred

Aug. 5, 1967

Dear Mom,
This is just a note. All my envelopes are ruined from the dampness in the
air. They're all stuck together. So I'll buy new ones tomorrow. I'll just
write this and mail it tomorrow as soon as I can.
Nothing new. Worked again today as it will be everyday.
It rained all day today too. We are still building on that room. It should
be finished soon.
Fred

Aug. 6, 1967

Mom,
This is Sunday but we had to work. After work I bought some new envelopes
then went to a movie. It is free and the movie was good. I bought a lamp and
now it isn't so dark in my little corner of the room.
We have to work everyday here, but I'm getting use to it and getting paid
too. So can't complain. Going to bed now. After seeing the movie it is way
past my bed time. Going on 11.
See you,
Fred

Aug. 7, 1967

Dear Mom,
It's really pouring the rain right now. It's the first rain today and way
overdue. They had me painting the shop today. I painted all day long, that's
all I did. We will have the new room ready soon.
I asked for the night shift and I hope they let me have it. I would rather
work nights because it's cooler. This place is hot. It has got to be way over
a 100 degrees. They gave us permission to work without a shirt and my back
is red. I hope it tans.
I have a new foot locker that Parks made and gave to me today. Mine was so
crummy. He is one of the guys in my shop and he made the box for himself. I
told him how good a job he did making it and how much I liked it so he said I
could have it and he would make another one.
I couldn't believe it. We have a great bunch of people here working to make
this a success. Now I have something to put my clothes in and I'm happy now.
Fred

Aug. 7, 1967

Dear Mom,
I painted again today just like I did yesterday. It is also raining just
like it did last night. We still haven't started working with the jets. We
haven't done anything yet but work on the shop. Don't know when we will start.
They are talking about putting me in the gun room so I might not be out on
the flight line loading bombs. I would prefer that.
Bill Dexter, one of the guys I work with, bought a tape recorder today for
$225 and a camera for $79. He brought money with him. The tape recorder is the
best you can buy and Dexter said it would cost $500 in the states. I might
get one. I don't know yet.
This is all for now.
Fred

Aug. 8, 1967

Dear Mom,
Not much is happening. The same old thing every day. Get up at 6:30
(changing tomorrow going to get up at 6:00). Report for work at 7:00. Work till
7:00 and come back to the barracks, shower and go to bed. I'm getting use to the
routine but some people are grumbling because of these long days. Some of us
had to work till 9:00 the other day.
A film crew came here to do an Air Force movie on the A37A and Bolanger and I
were sent out to put a gattling gun in the nose of the aircraft while they
filmed. It's the first time I've been on the flight line and I didn't want to
put on my shirt. They told me it would look better without the shirt.
The jets are in the air too. I like to watch them take off.
I'm still trying to learn some Vietnamese. I can say a few words, but not
much. A woman comes here to clean and she has taught me a few words.
It's hard to keep the place clean because the walls are open and screened to
keep it cooler I guess, but it lets all the dust in.
The rooms are divided with up to four to a room. I'm on the second floor and
some people I don't know but I'm trying to get to know everyone.
Now don't count the days. That won't do any good. A year is a year. It
won't go any faster. If you just think about it this way- as a year, not days,
it will be over faster than you think. I don't mind it here, it's not that bad.
Did I tell you I put $200 in the bank? It is on 10 percent savings and I
can't touch it till I get back in the States. I'm going to put in at least $100
every month. That will give me $1,300 when my time is up. I might stay over
another six months after that. I don't know yet. But if they pass the bill
to give us $1,800 to extend I will extend for six more months. But no need to
think about that. It's a long time off.
School has started again. I haven't gotten much news from home. So I don't
know much of what is going on. I don't get the papers everyday. I must get
one every three days or so.
Why don't you put something in the newspaper about me being over here? You
could put my address and tell where I am. It wouldn't do any good to tell what
I'm doing, but you could say that I'm working on the new jet fighter A37A.
Don't give my age. I don't want anyone to know how old I am. You could say I
graduated from Hinton High School in 1966. I would like to see something
about me being over here.
I need a pen. Someone got my good one and it cost $3.00! I'm using someone
else's now. It is about time for lights out.
See you,
Fred

Aug. 10, 1967

Dear Mom & Dad,
I got messed up with the days again, they all run together. Your letters
came today. I'll get to the questions.
First I didn't buy any insect spray. There isn't any real walls in this
building. The building has screen all around it and the wooden planks don't
overlap each other. You can see outside from any part of the building. The spray
doesn't stay here long enough to do anything. The wind is blowing all the
time.
I haven't sent my hat, shirt or ties. But I will. I'll let you know when I
send them.
I didn't see any of Japan because it was dark. So it was just like any other
place. Same food. Same air. Alaska was cold. It was daylight but I was
still on base and that made it just like any other place. Except cold.
Speaking of cold, I have one. It was 98 degrees today and I caught it today.
Any US base is better than this one, but this one isn't that bad. The roads
are all dirt and full of holes, that's the worst part. But everything is as
nice as can be expected. It isn't very bad.
I've got to say that the food here is better than State side. They feed us
good.
I haven't been able to go to church, we work everyday. The church is in the
theater and the movies are free, but I haven't been to but one.
A lot of the guys play cards and records they brought with them. But I just
sleep and work.
It hasn't rained much today. I bet when it comes it will be a down pour.
Got off early today, 3:30. That was nice.
Fred

Aug. 12, 1967

Dear Mom,
Thank you for the care package. The joke book is good. I haven't looked at
the other book but I'll read it. I put it in my locker and read it later.
The First Sergeant came through today for an inspection and told me I would
have to get rid of the locker Parks gave me. He said it is too big. I told
him it is the only thing I have to put my clothes in. He said I would be
getting another locker. I hope he forgets about it because this one is better than
the smaller foot lockers I've seen.
I got the afternoon off today, but I just came back here and went to sleep.
Yesterday Bissinger and I were moving gun pods. They weigh 280 lbs. and the
first one I picked up slipped out of my hands and I dropped it. We had to
move them about 20 feet and that is a long way to carry one of those things.
Anyway the third finger on my left hand is numb. It doesn't have any feeling in
the tip of it at all. If it isn't better by Monday I'm going to see about it.
I'm going to bed now. I have to report for work at 6:30. We start at 7 but
have to report 30-minutes early to get briefed on what has been going on, or
what hasn't been going on.
I've been promoted to Airman Second Class, finally. The promotion is
effective Sept. 1.
Thanks for everything,
Fred

Aug. 16, 1967

Dear Mom,
I'm getting your letters.
I'll be getting a locker soon. Sometime this week. But I have to get rid of
the foot locker Parks gave me. But with a locker that is O.K.
Not much to say. We lost a gun pod. The pilot dropped it by mistake. The
pod cost $18,000.
We had a commanders call the other day with all of us together. The
commander, Col. Bottomly, mentioned the water tower at England and my misspelling
saying the base commander told him he should teach his men to spell. I went up
after he was finished and told him I was the one. He said I thought all along
it was you. Pete Schindler, some other guy and I did it. I was in a hurry,
and nervous, and put Dragon Combat instead of Combat Dragon, messing up on the M
too and tried to fix it. It was the first of several pranks before we left.
I'll send you a picture of it as soon as I get it from Dexter.
Since we have been here I have completed more work orders than anyone in our
shop according to the records. I have my name on the books for jobs completed
22 times.
Not much to say. We work 12 hours a day. Don't get enough sleep. No time
for myself.
I'll try to write as often as I can but everyday is hard.
Fred

Aug. 20, 1967

Dear Mom,
Your letters are coming. Something from you almost everyday. Ever since I
got your first letter I've been getting something everyday, not only from you
but other people too. I'm glad I can get mail. Some people haven't had any.
I need a new tooth brush. I dropped mine on the floor last night. Today I
went to the BX to get another one and the only thing they had were those real
little ones. I bought one but I'd rather have a regular tooth brush.
I've been reading "The New Testament" a little every night. Last night I was
so tired I just read and didn't write anything. When I get off I'm tired. I
don't know when I'll get a day off. Maybe not.
Everything is OK on my side. Hope same there.
Too bad I didn't know about Gertrude and Guy visiting sooner. I just got the
letter of Aug. 16 and Aug. 14 today. I would have asked you to say hello to
them for me.
Fred

Aug. 23, 1967

Dear Mom,
Didn't get a letter yesterday, but did get the newspaper. It was the Aug.
14th issue.
I'm at work now. We aren't doing anything. Everyone is just sitting around
talking-- waiting for something to do.
We lost one of the A37s the other day. Luckily the pilot got out with only
two broken bones. We don't know what caused the accident but the pilots have
been making a lot of errors. Probably overworked.
Not long ago one of them dropped a pod. Another one apparently forgot to
lower his landing gear and came down with his nose on the ground. He wasn't
hurt. Then last night another one of them went through the line of fire from
another one. Fortunately he wasn't hurt.
I finally got a nice new metal locker yesterday. It has two doors and
several drawers in it. I like it. I'll send you a picture of it. I put it
together last night and it is all set up. The box Parks gave me was thrown out. I
wish I could have kept it. I didn't do anything last night except put the
locker together and sleep. When I get off all I want to do is take a shower and
go to bed.
My finger is OK. I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it in your
letter.
Not much else to say.
Fred

Aug. (no date)

Dear Mom,
Sorry to hear about Jimmy. Tell him I hope he gets better soon.
Things here are fine. I hope everything is fine there too. Not much to say.
We lost one of our jets. The pilot is OK except for two broken bones, but
the jet is no more. My finger is OK.
I'm reading a book called "Foundations of Psychology." Interesting reading.
We have lights out here at 10:00 and that only gives me three hours to do
everything.
Things aren't to bad. The time goes slow, but when you think about it, it
doesn't go any faster here than it does anywhere else.
That's all for now. I'm going to read some. Bed is in a half an hour.
Fred

Aug. 25, 1967

Dear Mom,
I received your second care package. Thank you. Everything was good.
I didn't work today. My first day off. I didn't do anything important.
Went off base with some other guys for the first time and walked around town.
Went in a place and bought some needles and thread and bought a new watch at
another place.
Town is really a dump. A lot of people on the streets.
Five more days till payday. I wonder how much I'll get. I'm going to save
as much as I can.
We are still working 12 hour days, 7 days a week. I don't know how long this
will last. I think maybe one more month. Then it will probably get harder.
I'm still thinking about signing up for a 6 month extension. I might do that
if they don't move me somewhere else. I want to continue working with the
A37s. If they move me it would be different. Still thinking about it.
The film crew was back in and they said the movie was good. I don't know if
I'll get to see it or not. It's a training film.
Getting the newspaper. Thanks for writing everyday. I really enjoy reading
the letters and I liked the newspaper write up. Thank you.
Nothing to add. Some of the guys are leaving on TDY in a few days. I'm
staying here.
Fred

Aug. 25, 1967

Dear Mom,
One of the guys just came in and told me I would be going TDY with the
others. I'm not sure when I'm leaving or when I'll be back. I think it is three
weeks. Anyway don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while. It will take
a few days I think just to get organized. So please don't worry.
I'm having a hard time staying on the lines. The lights are out here now.
Fred

Sept. 6, 1967

Dear Mom,
The orders to go TDY were cancelled. We were going to go to Da Nang. I
would have gotten a little more money for extra duty. That's how it goes.
You gave me a scare today. That call from the Red Cross. Everyone was
looking for me. The First Sergeant was going all over the place looking for me.
The First Sergeant knows me by my first name only while most people only know
you by your last name because of your name tag. I don't wear a name tag.
You didn't have to do that. I'm fine. We are working harder and for the
past few days I've been working till 9. That only gives me one hour to get back
here and shower before lights out.
I'm fine. Things here are OK. I'm still thinking about extending another
six months. It's hard work, but it's not like I'm out in the field fighting VC.
I'm on base, work in a building and sometimes on the flight line. Last
month they assigned me to the gun room three days a week. After a mission they
bring the gun to me and I clean it, put a teflon like lubricant on it, and make
it ready to be put back in the nose of the A37. I don't know how long I'll be
doing this, maybe the rest of the month.
Anyway when this year is up they will give me a 30 day leave and I'll be
coming home. I have to put in for that. I can come home for 30-days and then
come back here for only 5-months and still get the extra $1,800. After that I
can get another 30-day leave to come home. It sounds good and some people have
signed up. But I'm still thinking about it.
The next time you send a care package please send me some underwear (shorts).
My size is 30. You can't get them here. I also need some envelopes. The
kind I'm using now. You can't get these either.
I'm really sorry for taking so long between letters. It didn't seem that
long to me. Actually the morale is down because of all these long days. Sgt.
Birdsong doesn't want to give anyone a day off because he is afraid we might
have an emergency and be short handed. I've only had one day off since we got
here. And Captain White is a jerk. His office is between the gun room and the
main work shop. I walked by his office the other day and just spoke to him,
said good morning or something and he came to the gun room and chewed me out
for doing it and ordered me never to even look at him when I walked by his
office.
That's all for now. I'll try to get another letter off tomorrow. The lights
are out now.
Fred
P.S. How is Jimmy?

Oct. 10, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
Sorry to be so long between writing. I don't want you to be worried about
me. I'm fine. This 12 hour day will only be another two months or so, I think.
I'll be glad when we go on an 8 hour shift. Enough of that.
I bought a new pen as you can see.
I hate to say this but I think you better send me some Yard Guard. They
don't have any bug spray here and the bugs are bad. It might help some. It would
be better than nothing.
I enjoy getting letters from you. I can't get my P O Box open now. The door
is broke. They are going to put a new door on the box.
Had the word put to me about being late for work. I was late a few minutes
two days in a row and they acted like the whole war effort depended on me being
on time. Can't be late again. I should get a day off next week, that is if
I'm not late for work again. I don't intend to be late again.
We didn't do anything big today. Didn't even have a gun jam.
The lights are out again. I'll get on this again tomorrow.
Fred
A Poem
War is started by men unknown,
Evil men that somehow grow,
Men who love to see blood flow,
Men with a sick mind.
War is ended by men of might,
Men that are brave, men who will fight
For freedom, democracy, and all that's right.
Then war sees its end.
But, somehow, starts another war.
It always starts like it did before.
But, somehow, we will win.
And now there's a war in a foreign land.
Started like all wars began.
It rages on in Vietnam.
This war that no one understands.
I'll take my place with able men,
To fight a war that's labeled "cold."
This war thrives on man's distress,
This war that never has a rest.
This war that seems to kill the best,
And everyone must confess,
This war is much to old.
But the end is never near,
It plays on innocent people's fears.
They always cry, they never cheer.

Oct. 25, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
Glad to hear that everything's fine and that you had a good trip. Bet you
didn't get tired though. Great hearing from you.
You remember me telling you about going TDY? Well! here we go again. This
time it's to a different base. I can't tell you where we are going. I got my
orders today. I'll tell you what I can, when I can.
Not much going on here. No change in the work schedule. The planes go up
and the planes come down. Don't know if we are making any progress or not.
Everyone is working hard. We want to win.
About Christmas. Don't send anything just yet. If I go TDY I might not be
here to get it. If you send anything to eat rap it in foil to keep the ants
out. The last package was full of ants. They go for the chocolate. Thank you
for everything.
I'm glad you liked the poem. I though it was good. Still thinking about
extending. Mr. Tease send me a card. That was nice of him to send it to me.
One of our pilots got shot the other day. It wasn't bad. He was shot in the
leg and I think was sent home for 30 or so days. The pilot of 508 (that was
the one that went down) hasn't come back yet. We sent him a card. I hear he
is doing fine.
I'm fine. Everything has been going good for me. I haven't gotten into
trouble anymore for being late, in fact I've been the first one to report so
everything is OK. Everyone is pleased with my work. I have a lot of work, but I'm
doing all of it. I'm going to try to get off early tomorrow. I don't know
if I can but I'm going to try.
Today I worked all day in the gun room alone. I didn't sit down I bet for a
half an hour the entire day.
I'm back at the barracks. I was close to getting tomorrow off but they
didn't give it to me. Too valuable they said. I do my best, try to do it by the
book and my reward is keep doing it.
It's getting close to lights out and I'm tired. They say it gets worse
before it gets better. Not much to look forward to.
I haven't seen anyone here that I know from the other bases. My best friends
are Pete Schindler, Tony Neidhard and Bill Dexter. I might see some of my
friends from the other bases before it is over.
That's all for now.
Fred

Oct. 27, 1967

Dear Mom,
This is going to be just a note. Thank you so much for the package. Some
don'ts: When you send food rap it better. When I opened it their were a lot of
ants over everything. I really appreciate everything, but I had to throw it
out because ants were on everything. Thanks for the underwear. I really
needed that.
I have not gone on TDY yet. Don't ask me about it. I'll tell you what I can
when I can.
Pete broke his arm and I will be taking his place for the rest of phase 4.
Phase 5 is the TDY.
Must go now.
Fred

VIETNAM LETTERS
PLEIKU

Nov. 2, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad.
Don't know how long it will take you to get this? I'm now on TDY. The new
base is Pleiku. Got here yesterday. I'll be here for 45 days. So far it is a
fine base, better than Bien Hoa. I like it, but want to go back there. More
people I know and all. 53 of us came up. Out of my shop is Eric Jackson,
John Porter, Dean Curd, James Wright, Keith Barney, Steve Hunter, David Cockrell
and Pat Stratton. Most of the people that I ran around with is still at Bien
Hoa. Come to think of it. All of the people I ran around with are at Bien
Hoa.
Pleiku is a nice base. Cleaner. Bien Hoa is so dusty and not much for
grass. There is a lot of grass here. Not many people. Don't know how safe it is
but it is closer to North Vietnam. If you have a map try to find it.
About Christmas. Don't send anything yet because we might be here longer and
it will go to Bien Hoa and I don't know when it will get to me. You know.
Last night I was thinking about what I wanted and this is what it all came down
to. Some pictures from home.
I would like to have some pictures of the house, inside and out. The yard
maybe, snow on the ground. The Christmas tree and all the lights. Yo'all
opening all of your presents and all of you having fun. It seems like such a big
thing now, and so long ago. It would be so nice to see Mother working in the
kitchen and Dad down on the railroad, getting things mixed up. Doug playing
records and trying to fix the color on the TV. I think he is the only one that
can do that.
I try not to think about it but it seems like a million years since I was
home. I sometimes wonder if I'll see home again.
I better go now. You take it easy now.
Fred
PS The other day we broke the world's record in combat missions in one day,
142. That was something. Now we hold the record. Combat Dragon is the best.

Nov. 5, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
Not much going on here. Working. My job is to keep a record of the bombs
dropped and the amount of ammo used. I go around with a clip board recording
the data. Never had an easier job. The guys that have to load the bombs have
isolated me. But I didn't ask for this job. I do what I'm told to do.
Helped dig a bunker today. We are on 8 hours so that is better. I'm in my
room now. Have been here most of the day.
Met a guy I knew from Nellis. We talked for a long time.
Everything is OK with me. I've had another cold, but it is getting better.
I moved out of a room that had ten people in it and into a cubical with only
one other person. I haven't seen him yet.
Reading a book called "Wake Up Screaming." It has several short stories and
I've read most of them.
Between missions I go to the flight line and lay on the grass to read so I
won't be bothered.
That's all for now. Hope everything is OK. Going to eat and do some
reading. Nothing from Jimmy.
Fred

Nov. 6, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
I just received your letters of Oct. 30 and 31. You said the last one you
had from me was Oct. 18. By now you have surely gotten one from me. But you
haven't. I get your letters about six days after you mail them. You might get
mine sooner. You should get them in three or four days. How long did it take
you to get this one? It will leave here Nov. 7, 1967 at one in the morning.
By the time you get this you should be getting other letters from me that I
have already sent.
About things to send. Don't send anything until I get back in Bien Hoa. No
chocolate please. O.K.
Everything is fine at this end. It's colder here. The VC are 45 miles away
and Bien Hoa was hit yesterday. Glad I wasn't there. I don't think anyone I
know was hurt. I hope not.
Didn't work to hard today. Things are OK here. Get off at 5 or 5:30. Have
plenty of time to relax and do a little reading.
Time goes by fast here. It must go slow for yo'all.
Fred

Nov. 6, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
You won't believe this but I'm down to five envelopes. Now a lot of them are
still at Bien Hoa, but I have used nine of them tonight. Writing Bill
Anderson, David Lane, Davie Madison, H. F. Cooper, Jimmy Lawson, Gary Miller, Daniel
Serrano (you don't know him) and two to you.
Now that I have more time I'm trying to get my letters out more timely. This
should get you two letters in one day.
I'm still fine. Nothing is going to happen to me. It is almost time for
bed. I have already mailed the first letter so this might go tonight or
tomorrow, don't know which.
I'll write again tomorrow.
Fred

Nov. 7, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
Didn't do that much today. This place is like being on a vacation compared
to Bien Hoa.
Got your letter saying you had mine of Oct. 25.
I'm sleepy so this will be short.
While at work I went on the flight line and started reading James Bond "You
Only Live Twice." I should finish it tomorrow. Between missions I go to the
flight line to read and lay on the grass. It's peaceful there. I like being
alone by myself.
Didn't write letters like I did last night. Just did some reading.
Not much more to say.
Fred

Nov. 11, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
I will go through your letters trying to answer your questions. I did get a
lot of letters today. Two from you that were sent on the 2nd and 3rd of Nov.,
one from H. F. and Mr. Tease and one from Linda Reed (whoever she is).
By-the-way, my hair is coming back out. I had every bit of it cut off because it's
so hot here. But it's coming back out and I'm beginning to look like my old
self again.
I have asked to go back to Nellis after I leave here. I should get it. I
hope so. I liked it in Vegas.
It hasn't rained here for over a week. I don't know what it is doing at Bien
Hoa. I have seen it raining on one side of the flight line and dry as a bone
on the other side. Just a wall of rain. Stand on one side and be dry. Take
four steps and you're wet to the skin. Strange.
Our barracks is different here. The walls are closed in because it gets cool
it night. Haven't used any bug spray. Not that many bugs to bother us.
Anyway on the 9th work started at 12:00, on the 10th 12:00, 11th, 06:45;
12th, 06:45; 13th, 12:00; 14th, 06:45.
I don't know how long we will be here. The orders call for 45 days but it
might be more, it might be less. I like it here, but I still want to go back to
Bien Hoa where most of my friends are. I get paid more here so that helps
too.
I just do what I'm told to do. They give me a work order and I go out and do
it. But here, for the most part, I just walk around with a clip board
recording the amount of ammo used.
I've only gone off base a few times. I ride everywhere I go. It is
interesting to talk to the people. Most of them can speak a little English and so we
can do some talking and I'm still working on learning Vietnamese. I went in
this place to get something to eat. I had my Vietnamese Dictionary with me and
this old lady came up and started talking to me. She sat across from me and
we talked for sometime. She said she thought I was her son when she first saw
me. She said I looked like the Vietnamese except for the eyes. Between her
English and my Vietnamese we got along pretty good. She said I was learning
the language and doing very well. I thanked her, then she reached out for my
hand and I let her look at it. She said I was a hard worker and that I had
strong hands. She held my hand for a long time. I wonder what she was thinking.
I don't think the food is bad. I eat with my fingers and chop sticks. Now
you may think chop sticks are hard to eat with. They aren't, not at all. I
didn't have any trouble with them. They had some kind of meat (I've been told
they eat dog and monkey so I didn't eat any of it). Some kind of salad. Had a
lot of onions in it. Not bad. Rice and some kind of soup. It wasn't bad
either. Also had bananas, three of them. They were only about three inches
long. And half a grapefruit. I didn't know what it was until I started eating
it. It was good. That is the only time I have eaten anything in town.
I have also talked to some of the men in town and on base about their
feelings about the war. Some of them have seen war all their life and just think it
is a way of life and don't think much about it. Others wish it would come to
an end and appreciate our help. From what I can gather they really want our
help and after the war they want self-governing.
I don't talk to people off base that much because I don't want to start
talking to someone that isn't on our side. I always take my pocket dictionary with
me when I go off base.
I read when ever I can. Go out on the flight line and read between missions.
I'm reading Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" now. It's great. A
couple of days ago I was on the flight line reading and Col. Bottomly came by
and laid on the grass beside the flight line a few feet down from me. I
looked at him and he had his hands behind his head looking at the sky. I went back
to reading. A few minutes later one of our planes went by and I got up to
move, I've been doing that, but he didn't. The wings of the plane went over him
and he didn't move. I went back to reading and when the next plane passed by
us I didn't move either. I looked at him while the plane taxied down the
runway and he just kept looking up at the sky. The wing crossed over him and
when it passed he stood up and walked away. He was teaching me that I didn't
have to move because the planes were taxiing down the run way. It was a special
moment.
I said I would have a late Christmas. That was deep thinking. I don't
expect you to understand. I don't know why I said it either.
That is all for now.
Fred
PS notice I didn't ask for anything. I could use a bar of soap, people are
beginning to talk. (That was just a joke).

Nov. 16, 1967

Dear Mom,
Your letter came today and thank you for the envelops. I needed them,
thanks. They don't have any at the BX and I don't like going around asking people
for envelops.
Things have changed here. We go to work at 8:30 and get off at 7:30. I
don't know why things have stepped up. We might go on a 12 hour schedule next
week.
Do you remember the movie "The Uninvited" staring Ray Milland? It was a
great movie, made around 1944. I just finished reading the book and was it good!
I'm going to send it to Bobby Brydie as soon as I have time to go get stamps
at the post office.
Don't ask me to go into details about what I do. I don't load the bombs on
the A37s. They have other people that do that. What I do is meet all the jets
when they come in and check to see if the gun's fired and if they dropped the
bombs and fire rockets. I keep a record of everything.
I can't tell you what we are doing here right now. Maybe later. Today was
really the first really hard work day. Didn't stop until around 2:30. The
planes going up and coming back around the clock.
I'm at work now. This morning someone got mixed up and we didn't get the
right number of bombs and got behind and never did catch up till now. We are
waiting for 518 and 519 to come down and then they will put the bombs on and take
the LAUs (they have rockets in them) off. After that we will be finished for
the day. Of course if there's a gun jam we might be here another hour, but I
don't expect that.
Other than reading "The Uninvited" and trying to learn more Vietnamese I'm
not doing much. I'm still putting a $100 in my savings account every month and
since I couldn't write any letters the past few days I went to the movies.
One was a Walt Disney, "The Absent Minded Professor" and the next day was some
movie with Tony Curtis. I didn't catch the name of it but it was a good movie.
I haven't gone to any of the others because by the time I get off work they
have already started.
I haven't gone off base here. In my last letter I was talking about when I
was at Bien Hoa. You can only go into town here between 1 and 5.
Everything is relaxed right now and we are waiting for the jets to land.
They should be back in about 40 minutes. I don't know if I told you this but we
don't have any milk here. I miss that. The food is OK but no milk.
That's all for now. Take it easy and I'll write again soon.
Fred

Nov. 17, 1967

Dear Mom,
I said so much yesterday that I don't have anything to say today.
We had some trouble with one of the nose guns today. A piece of it broke and
Pat Stratton and I changed the gun. Pat and I are getting along good. I'm
getting along good with everyone.
Haven't done much today. The A37s land in 40-minutes. Then I'll start
debriefing the planes. It's 12 noon now.
Now! Dad your questions.
I can't speak Vietnamese fluently although I'm learning enough to communicate.
I'm not leaving Combat Dragon. I and 52 other people are here TDY on a
Combat Dragon mission. We will go back to Bien Hoa sometime to complete the
mission we have been assigned to do. I can't tell you what we're doing. Maybe
after it is over. It wouldn't do you any good to know anyway. It's just a job we
have to do.
I was on a detail helping to dig a bunker.
Ask all the questions you want. I'll answer the one's I can.
It looks like I'll be here till the wee hours of the night, tonight. Pat and
I have to change a circuit breaker in one of the A37s and a relay switch
before tomorrow morning. It is hard to say how long that will take.
Number 526 come's down at 6:30 and we can get on the relay switch at 7:00 (I
hope). But 511 doesn't come back till 7:00 so we won't get on the circuit
breaker till the switch is changed on 526. That means we probably won't get
started on 511 until 9:00. 511 just took off. It is the last jet to fly today.
I had to stop. I've really put in a full day today. It is 5:20 now. It's
cold here. At night it gets down to 65 and it feels cold. Yesterday it was 99
degrees in Bien Hoa and that means it was about 89 degrees here and it feels
cold. Yesterday I had to put on my shirt.
Here comes 504. Hope everything is OK with it. 504 was OK. Now we wait for
509 to land. I put my shirt back on. I'll be glad to get back to Bien Hoa
where it is nice and hot. I like it better hot than cold.
Everyone has gone to eat and I'm the only one here. I'll go to eat after the
others get back. I'm hungry too. The food is OK, but no milk.
I think I'll write a letter to Bill Dexter. He is at Bien Hoa. I told him I
would drop him a note while I was up here.
Talk to you later,
Fred

Nov. 23, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
How is everything? Got a letter from Jimmy Lawson, David Lane and Davie
Madison today.
I'm going to go through your letters and answer your questions. By-the-way,
if you see people like Bill Anderson, stop and talk to them and find out how
they are getting along.
Still at Pleiku.
Got your package. Ate everything and everything was great.
We have two women that comes here to clean the barracks. She has a little
girl that comes too most of the time. I gave her a toy truck and you should
have seen her face light up. It might have been the first toy the kid has ever
had. After she played with it for awhile she started looking inside to see how
it worked.
Today is Thanksgiving Day. Now! today for lunch we had the best meal I've
had since in the Air Force.
I wonder what Christmas will be like at Bien Hoa? I would like to be there
for Christmas.
I'll be going back to Bien Hoa about the fifth I heard.
Hope everything is fine.
Fred

Dec. 4, 1967

Dear Mom,
I hope you can read this. I'm doing it in total darkness. We have really
been busy. We have been going so hard that they have run out of bombs. We are
flying 250 pound bombs.
I'm still at Pleiku. Don't know how much longer. I might go back to Bien
Hoa on the 7th or 8th. Hope so.
I go to work now at 12 and get off at 12. I get up to go to work around
10:30 and have plenty of time to eat and get to work. It really gets cold here.
I'm going to get a 35 m.m. camera when I get back to Bien Hoa and I'll send
you some pictures.
A few nights back someone here used a stencil and painted "Made By Mattel" on
the nose of our A37s. To get even I made a stencil of a dragon and last
night I went around with a spray can painting the dragon on the nose of their
A1Es. I was caught. They didn't do anything but tell me not to do it again. I
felt so stupid. Not for what I did but because I got caught doing it and I
guess they were watching me go from plane to plane painting this little dragon.
But I got most of these old WWII prop planes.
I have a new address. It is no longer Det 1-3 CSG but 604th ACS (Air
Commando Squadron). Isn't that great! I'm glad that my address is now to our outfit.
A1C Fred Long
Box 11315 604th ACS
APO San Francisco 96227
Might be here till the 15th now. They were talking and someone from Bien Hoa
was here. Don't know when we are leaving.
Tell Jerry Lilly thank you for the package. After I opened the package
someone threw her address away. I got the nuts, shirt and socks. I put them on
last night. Not the nuts I ate them.
I don't really like working at night. I have to go on the flight line to
meet the A37 when they come back and you can see the ground fire from where I am.
It was bad Thanksgiving night.
The VC got three of our trucks that night. It was a mile away. They could
never get on the base and I feel safe. I'll write again tomorrow.
Fred
VIETNAM LETTERS
TET

Dec. 19, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm back at Bien Hoa. I'm in a new barracks. On the ground floor. I like
it better than the old one because I have more room and I'm right next door to
the latrine, ha ha. No more walking from one end of the barracks to the other
to take a shower. Leonard Barnett is my room mate. We get along great.
I've been here three days, arrived back on Dec. 16, and didn't write before
because I've been processing in and moving into my new locker. Still doing
that.
I bought a camera yesterday. It's a good one and cost $99. It's a Yashica
J-7. About the best you can buy. Made in Japan.
It's nice to be back here but it seems different. Like starting all over
again. I have met all my old friends, but they are working different shifts and
all.
Have to go eat now. I'll write again.
Fred

Dec. 29, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
Things are fine at this end. It's 10 now so the lights will be going out in
a minute. Nothing much to say. Had a nice Christmas dinner, but it wasn't as
good as the Thanksgiving meal at Pleiku. Today was payday. I didn't cash
the check. Do that tomorrow. Nothing more to say.
Fred

Jan. 4, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Everything is OK. Hope everything is OK with you two. I sent you some
pictures of the base a few days ago. They aren't very good. Really bad. I don't
know enough about the camera. You should get them before you get this. I
might have tomorrow off. If I get the day off I'm going in town and take some
pictures.
I'm sending you a plaque for our outfit. It's nice and you can put it on the
wall.
I'm working the afternoon/evening shift now. Go in at noon and get off at
midnight.
Leonard Barnett bought a radio. It's nice to have a radio in our cube.
I got a lot of nice things for Christmas. Nuts, shirt and socks. A lot of
good things to eat from you and Daddy. A fruitcake from the DeMolay. More
things to eat from Aunt Jossie. Nuts from David, thanked him. Something to eat
from the Woman's Club.
Bought some new clothes in town the other day. A nice silk shirt and dress
pants, tailored.
I also had them make a tuxedo for me. It cost $70 but I think it will come
in handy when I get back to the States. I'll be sending it to you.
I haven't cashed my check yet. Haven't had time. I'll do that tomorrow and
put $150 in the bank. I'm behind with my savings because of buying the camera
and clothes.
Must go now.
Fred

Jan. 6, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,
Not much to say. Things here are fine. Still working 12 to 12. Don't mind
it. Yesterday Leonard thought someone stole his radio. When we got back to
the barracks it wasn't on the table where he put it. The woman that cleans put
it under his pillow when she made the bed.
She is hard working and everyone likes her.
Not much to say. Working everyday. Wish they would give us some time off.
Haven't had a day off since I got back here. Went in town with a few guys
yesterday for an hour or so. Enjoy getting off base from time to time.
Nothing more to say,
Fred

Jan. 18? 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Thank you for the pictures from home. They are nice. Everything looks so
nice. I wish I was home watching TV and not here working like a dog. We have
had some really busy days. Still going 12 hours a day and very little time
off. Only about six more months to go. It will be good to get back home for
awhile.
I got a lot of your letters at one time so let's see what is in them.
Doug. I can't send you any Vietnamese coins. When I come home I'll bring
you some.
The smallest I have seen is 5 Dong, about 3
10 Dong is 8
20 Dong about 16
50 Dong is 60
100 Dong, $1.20
200 Dong, $2.40
500 Dong, $4.25
Something like that.
I'll try to bring some back with me. OK.
I didn't get the letters for Jan. 3 and 4. I guess they were lost.
I've saved $450. I know it should be more and I'm playing catchup now. I
have $80 put aside that only one other person, Leonard, knows about. I don't
know if I told you but the night before I left England AFB someone went through
by billfold. I had $50 in it but not where it should be. I had it behind a
compartment in the billfold and they didn't see it. I know who did it. While
at England we ran around a lot together. I was surprised that he would do
that, but he didn't get the money so that is OK.
Leonard took the picture of me that I'm sending you. The jet is the A37. I
think you will like this one.
The other one is when I was at Pleiku. (I can't remember the name of the guy
that took this). I had just finished taking a shower and washing my hair.
All for now.
Fred

Jan. 24, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
The letter you just received I wrote a long time ago. I don't know how long
ago. I thought I had mailed it, but didn't. I'm sorry.
I'm on the morning shift now. I go in at 4 and get off at noon. I'm the
only one until 6:30 when the other guys start coming in. My job is to check all
the MA4A racks and see they are OK and clean and fix those that don't work
right. I clean all of them whether they need it or not. Helps make the time go
faster.
Had another shirt made for me. This is the kind of shirt you would wear on
stage, not on the street. I'll wear it if I ever get to Nashville.
I haven't sent the tux yet. When you send your next care package I'll put it
in the box and send it to you.
Glad you liked the plaque. I bought it.
Everything is fine here. Everyone is working hard.
All for now,
Fred

Jan. 30, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I just got finished taking my shower and after I write this I'm going to bed.
Worked from 4:00 to 12 these past two weeks. My last day on this shift will
be Feb. 3. Then I go from 3:30 to whatever time I get off. After two weeks
of that I go to 7:30 to 4:30. I don't know how long I'll be on that shift.
We had a VC working on base as a barber. He was the best one and I always
let him do my hair. He seemed to be a nice guy. He didn't cut off my
sideburns. They let me have sideburns here.
Yesterday the VC were putting rockets up about five miles from here. I'm
told to hit Long Bien. We dropped bombs on the rocket site and when the Army went
in he was there dead.
He was a spy. You never can tell.
This is the Vietnamese New Year. From Monday to Friday. Their was a truce,
but the VC broke it last night. They hit a lot of our bases. Almost all of
them. No one expected that. I don't think they will try anything here. Bien
Hoa is a safe base and if anything was going to happen we would know about it
ahead of time.
Didn't do much today. Spent most of my time in the shop. They had to put a
dual rate system in one of the aircraft so I stayed till two because I wanted
to learn how it is done. Now I know. Not much to it.
I'm thinking about writing a book about being here. Maybe a short story or
something. Another guy wrote something and sent it to a magazine and they paid
him $50 for it. He got in trouble because of it, but I would get anything I
write cleared before I sent it.
I've gone to the movies a few times. The best one so far has been "10 Little
Indians." Saw "The Greatest Story Ever Told" too but couldn't hear it. The
jets were drowning out the sound.
The jets are always taking off. They must take off every few minutes. Not
just ours but others. It goes on all the time. Trucks are always going by the
barracks and they are just as bad. It really doesn't bother me, except when
I'm trying to hear something. Sometimes you can't even talk.
Leonard, my roommate, and I were talking and I said "Everything was going
fine until" (and the jets went up drowning me out) "and that's why it happened."
It got a laugh.
Things are just fine here,
Fred

Feb. 2, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm sure you have gotten one of my letters by now. I don't know how fast
mail is sent out of here. This letter might not go out for a few days. Today I
received your letter dated Jan. 25. So it took a week for that letter to get
to me. So you should have my last letter by now. I'm sorry I didn't send the
other letter sooner. Things happen here. One minute you are doing one thing
and the next minute you are doing another. We have a lot to try to remember
and work comes first. Sometimes we think we did something when we didn't.
It has been bad here since Jan. 31. I'm not going into all of it, but that
morning the base was hit with mortar shells and rocket fire and VC got on the
base. 153 were killed and 25 captured. A rocket hit our barracks but no one
was seriously hurt. I'm fine. The rocket landed in the latrine. I'm in a new
barracks now. None of my stuff was damaged.
I'm fine, just tired that's all. Haven't had a good nights sleep since Jan.
30. Didn't sleep that night after 3:00 am. I think it will be quiet tonight,
but we are still on alert. Town is off-limits.
We lost one of our jets. The A37A had napalm and 750 pound bombs on it when
a mortar hit it. I got some pictures of it after the attack and while the
attack was going on. No one that I know got hurt bad. One guy was shot in the
hip. I talked to him today. He is OK. He is the only one in our squadron
that was shot. Jackson got something in his leg. It might have been wood when
the rocket hit our barracks. I don't know, but he is OK too.
I'm going to close now. I'll write again soon,
Fred

Feb. 5, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
You asked me to write everyday. I'll try. Everything is back to normal and
we have been assured what happened the other day won't happen again.
Everything is back to SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Not much today. Went to work and had to change a gun and fix a jam. That's
about all. After work went to eat and to a movie. "The Way West" with Robert
Mitchum, Richard Whidmark and Kert Douglas. I enjoyed it.
This is the Vietnamese new year. Tet is a very big holiday for them. I'm
looking forward to seeing what happened in town, but it is off limits for now.
I'm not working from 4 to 12 midnight tomorrow. I will the day after
tomorrow. The next day I should be off. It is daylight here from 7 to 7:30.
I have a lot of film that I took when the base was hit and that needs to be
developed. I'll send them to you. I liked the Christmas pictures you sent me.
That's all for now. More to follow.
Fred

Feb. 6, 1968

Dear Mom
I just finished a letter to Bob Brydie. Not much to say today. Everything
is fine. Went to work. After work came back, showered, talked and now going
to bed. Not much today. Maybe more tomorrow.
Fred


Feb. 8, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I did a lot of thinking before writing this letter. Now I haven't said anyth
ing about extending for another six months for a long time. I haven't
forgotten about it either.
I know that you don't want me to stay over here, but look at it this way. If
I extend I will get a free 30-day leave to go anywhere I would like to go. I
could go to any Air Force base free and stay on the base and still see some
more of the world. I don't know where I would go. Maybe Japan or Germany.
Italy or England sound good to me. There is an Air Force base everywhere. I
could see Rome or London. It would be nice to see those places don't you think?
The 30-day leave would count as time here and I could return to Bien Hoa for
the last five months. After that I can pick any base in the world I would
like to be on. I would like to be stationed in Japan. That would be for two
years.
I know you are looking forward to me coming home and I too look forward to
that. But this may be my only chance to see the rest of the world.
I know when I get back to the States I'll never get out of the US again.
If I'm going to extend I have to do it before March 1. Not a lot of time
left. Don't you think it would be nice to see Rome or Naples? I really would
like to see those places.
Now I'm thinking about taking R & R (Relax and Recreation). Some of the
other guys have signed up for it. I'm thinking about maybe the Philippines. This
would be around April.
Let me know what you think about my thoughts. Good or Bad.
I'm fine. Going to bed now. I have to be at work at 7:30.
I'll write again tomorrow.
Fred

Feb. 11, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I have made up my mind about extending. I'm not going to do it. It would be
nice to see the rest of the world, but after yesterday and this morning all I
want to do is get back to the world where I belong. Not that I shouldn't be
here, it's just such a mixed up crazy war. I know
communism must stop somewhere, but this playing with lives is just plain
crazy.
I haven't seen anything about Saigon, so you may know more about it than I
do. But what has happened in Bien Hoa I do know.
You said you didn't hear much about it here, just in Saigon. Well we had
quite a war for several days, and a little ever since. Last night it was really
bad. Just after midnight they started pounding us with rockets. 20 of them.
The alert sirens went off and we evacuated the barracks running to the bunker
just like we did on the morning of the 9th when we were hit with 12 rockets
and mortars. It was tense, all of us crowded together. We could hear the
rockets crossing the base and someone said a barracks next to us had been hit.
Some of us went out and the barracks was burning. I grabbed a fire extinguisher
from the ground floor and some of us went to the second floor and I put the
fire out. A man was injured and he was carried from his room on a board down
the steps to the ground. Medics arrived but they didn't do much and I couldn't
understand why they didn't take him to the hospital when one of them told me
he was dead.
This thing is too crazy for me. We were told we were safe and no VC were
near us. We were told we were winning and the Vietnamese Army was being driven
behind the DMZ. Not true. I could tell you a lot of things I don't like about
this war, but that wouldn't help anything.
I haven't been off base since Jan. 24. Bien Hoa is off limits and I don't
have any desire to go off base. May never go off base again.
We have water now. I'm in a new barracks and I'm fine. It's almost 10 so
will be going to bed.
I hope tonight will be a quiet night.
Fred

Feb. 17, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Everything is fine now. I'm not going to extend over here. I hope they
don't call me to come back. I didn't really want to see Japan and those other
places anyway. It would cost too much money and I want to save as much as
possible. I put $180 in the bank this past month. Don't know how much I've saved.
Did you get my letters? I haven't been getting yours for a few days now. I
think you better stop the paper. I haven't had one for about three weeks now.
Don't know what is going on, but you might as well stop it if I can't get it.
Got a letter from David, said he was going to quit school. Said he doesn't
have anymore money. I hope he doesn't get drafted.
I have been doing a lot of reading on the war effort and all that has been
going on. It doesn't seem like the war can last much longer. Of course it will
be another year or so. But when you look at how long it has been that isn't
so long.
Everything is back to normal again so will close for now.
Fred

Feb. 18, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
The base was hit again last night. 21 rockets this time. I'm not going to
listen to anything they say again. I'm fine. They hit us at night so we can't
sleep. This time it started at 1 in the morning. Not much more to say.
Tired and getting little sleep.
Fred

Feb. 19, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
How is everything back home? Hope everything is OK. Working night's 4:30 to
12. Going to put in for R & R tomorrow. I'll let you know where I'm going
when I make up my mind.
The woman that comes here to clean our barracks is polishing my shoes now.
Did I tell you the VC burned down her house? That was terrible. She is
staying with friends.
Don't know how much work they will have for me. Hope it isn't much.
We have three Momasons in here now. Boy! they love me. I gave one of them a
lighter. You should hear them talking.
It's a nice day today. I had a good night sleep. Slept till 11. I wanted
to get up at 9:30 but didn't. I write again soon.
Fred

Feb. 21, 1968

Dear Mom & Dad,
Had a long day yesterday. Got up at 9:30. Did some reading. "Vietnam in
the Mud." It is a good book by James Pickerell. I have a few more chapters to
go. Went to the BX and by that time I had to go to work. Didn't get off till
4:20 the next morning (today). Went to breakfast and got to bed at 6. Then
got up again at 9:30. Couldn't sleep. I went so long on so little sleep that
now when I can sleep I don't want to. Did more reading and then went to work
at 3. Didn't start till 4:30 but didn't have anything else to do so went on
down. Didn't do anything but read another book. Had to work till 8:30 and
came back here. It is now 10:30. I got back at 9 and took a shower and talked
to some of the guys and started my letter.
I got a lot of letters today. One from Mr. Tease and five from you.
We were hit Saturday and Sunday, 10 & 11. You said two were injured and only
slight damage. That night two were killed and a third died later Sunday.
The barrack next to mine was hit. The first rocket. Two were killed then. The
second hit two barracks down and another was killed. He died immediately,
never knew he was hit. Three jets were destroyed. One an F4C. The jets didn't
bother me but those rockets were just to close for me.
After getting in the bunker we could hear people yelling. Then someone said
"did you see that barracks, it was hit." I was near the front and went out
with some of the others. The rockets were crossing the base from where we were.
When I got to the front of the barracks where it was hit there were about 10
people there getting people out. They carried someone out. I looked at him
and almost got sick. Grabbed a fire extinguisher and went up stairs fast. The
place was on fire. People were in there trying to get more out. I tried to
put the fire out. It looked hopeless and fought it by myself while others
worked to get the people out. We finally got everyone out and even put the fire
out. And I decided to not extend.
The attack on Jan. 31 was another close call. A rocket landed and went all
over the end of the barracks in the latrine (bath room). If someone had been
in there they would not have come out alive. My room was just a wall away. We
moved into a new barracks.
Everything is quite now. It seems like every time I think we won't be hit
again we are hit. So I'm not saying anything. We have been hit five times
since Jan. 30.
I'm fine,
Fred

Feb. 23, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Not much going on now. Everything is quiet. I think it might end soon. I
hope so.
We have been working hard, all of us. Don't have much to say right now.
Tired. We are all tired.
Enclosed is my W2. If I get anything back have it put in the bank.
Not much more to say. Might get off early tonight. I'll write again soon.
Fred

Feb. 29, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Today is payday. I think I told you about the Lincoln pennies I'm going to
buy to complete my set. These are brilliant uncirculated and they are:
1909-VDB, 1909, 1909-S, 1910, 1910-S, 1911, 1911-D, 1911-S and 1912. This will make
the book look better, don't you think? These are going to cost $200, but in
10 years they might be worth $1,000.
The Momasons are married and unmarried Vietnamese women. They do our
clothes, make our beds and polish our shoes. We pay them $4.25 a month. I told you
about them once when I was at Pleiku. I gave them some nuts and one of their
kids a toy at Thanksgiving.
Now I don't want you to get all excited but I might be home for my birthday.
I've heard some talk that we might leave early. That would be nice. I would
like to be home for my birthday.
By the time you get this letter you will probably hear that the base got hit
again on the 28th. This has been a bad month. They hit us with 30 rockets
and mortars. I'm fine. I wonder what March will be like.
I'm back on days now. This is March 1. I didn't have time to finish the
letter yesterday.
I wanted to tell you about the 27th-28th. We were ready for the attack.
Somehow they knew it would happen. Worked 14 hours that night and on the 28th at
1:00 that morning it started. Within 15 minutes we were after the VC and I'm
told we killed over 150 of them. I was on the flight line when the first
rocket came down. It wasn't close to us. We started running to the bunker when
the guy in front of me realized he had a tool in his hand. He threw it hard
on the ground and it came back and hit me on the leg. He said he didn't know
why he didn't let go of the tool before we all started running. I wasn't hurt
bad and he didn't mean to do it. No one I know was hurt that night. Things
are back to normal now.
It seems strange that they keep trying to take the bases. That of Tan Son
Nhut (Saigon), Long Binh (between Saigon and Bien Hoa) and our base. To my
knowledge we have lost three while they have lost 300. But they keep coming. And
we keep pushing them back. But it seems when we are pushing in one direction
they are coming at us from the other.
Don't worry about me. I'm fine. Might have the day off tomorrow.
Fred

March 3, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
This is just a note. I'm going to try to find a box to send the tux home in.
I don't want to keep it here much longer. I have been trying to get it out
of here for a long time, but can't find a box to put it in.
I got today off but didn't have time to cash my check. I'll try to do that
on my next day off. That will be sometime next week if nothing goes wrong.
Everything seems to be quiet again now. Went to a movie and the library with
Dexter. Dexter is a lot of fun to be with. Working with Pete a lot too.
Seems every assignment that comes in we do it together. He was a trash
collector in New York and about as strong as a bull. If I can't pick the ammo drum
up, he can. I can get my hands in places where he has trouble so we make a good
team.
Maybe sometime this month the town will go back on limits. I would like to
find out what has happened to town.
Got an application in the mail to join the VFW. I might join this month.
This is all for now.
Fred

March 5, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
This is just going to be just a note because I have to go in at 4:00 tomorrow
morning and work till 12:00 so going to bed after writing this.
We were hit again with 20 rockets on the morning of the 4th. It seems every
time I think its over it starts up again. Hard to sleep because every night
you think you are going to be attacked again. Sleep with one eye open. No one
was hurt that I know of. This whole thing is to keep our nerves on edge.
I put in to go back to Pleiku today. Don't know if they will let me go back
again or not. Time will tell. If I go to Pleiku I won't go R & R. But that
is all right with me.
I don't know about coming home in June now. I think what is going to happen
is I'll leave the 604th and go to another squadron. You see, we all came over
together and will all leave around the same time. They can't let the entire
squadron leave at one time so we will be changing squadrons with someone.
Like someone with three months here will take my place and I'll take his. When I
leave the new squadron to come home, someone stateside will come to take my
place.
It will all happen over a period of time. Not all at once like when we came
over. Do you understand? If you can't I'll try to explain it better in
another letter.
All for now.
Fred

March 17, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Things here are fine. Not much to say. The alert sirens sounded and we ran
to the bunker last night, but nothing happened. That was a relief. A few
nights ago we were hit with rockets again. Never know when they are going to
hit. Wish this would end.
My R & R is confirmed. I'll be leaving on April 8 for Penang. Dexter and I
are going together. We are going to the library in a few days to find out
about the place. I don't know a thing about Penang.
Not going to Pleiku and staying on days. Working the day shift from 7:30 to
4:30. It isn't a bad shift but I really like working nights better because
you can sleep in in the morning.
I have a new guitar. A Vietnamese friend of mine bought it for me in Saigon
for 1700 p. That is about $15.00. It's nice and it was nice of him to do
that for me. I can't play it but I'm trying.
I got a letter from the manager of the Freemont Theatre at Las Vegas
yesterday. That was a surprise. I use to stop by and talk to him every time I went
into town. He is going to help me find a job singing if I get stationed at
Nellis again. How about that!
Not much more to add. Will write again soon.
Fred

March 22, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I have plenty of envelops now. Hold off sending anymore until the wet season
comes again. I'll let you know in plenty of time if I can't get any here.
Your care package came today and thank you very much for everything. (The
goodies go fast). I can't use the box to send the tux home so Monday or Tuesday
I'm going to try (if it takes the entire day) to send it home. I want to get
it out of here before the rainy season starts up again.
I'm ordering the coins from stateside. They will be sent to your address.
It won't be long till I leave for my R & R. I'm getting short. I've got my
orders and I'll be leaving from Cam Ranh Bay on April 3 and returning on April
8. Dexter and I went to the library a few days go and we are really excited
about getting out of here, even if it's only for a few days.
Hope I get my stateside orders soon. I asked for Nellis but that doesn't
mean I'll get it.
Another picture. This is Leonard Barnett. He is my room mate. At the
moment he is on a three day pass and won't be back for two more days.
Don't know if I told you but I'm not going back to Pleiku. It would have
been nice to be in a different place for awhile. Didn't make it. No big thing.
You'll never guess what happened today. I lost my shirt. I don't have any
idea what happened to it. When I went to work I took it off. When it was time
to quit and go home I couldn't find it. I've got to buy a few new ones
anyway.
Keep me informed about Jimmy Lawson. I hope it isn't as bad as you say. I'm
fine and hope everyone else is the same. We were hit again last night, more
rockets. First time in a long time. No one was hurt as far as I know.
Closing for now.
Fred
VIETNAM LETTERS
AFTER TET

April 2, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Things are fine here. Getting ready for my R & R. Got paid and taking
plenty of money with me. Heard Johnson's speech. Couldn't believe it. When he
said we wouldn't bomb North Vietnam anymore I just felt like we were being
abandoned. How do you win if you don't bomb the enemy? It's all crazy. I'm glad
to be getting out of here even if it's only for a few days. So he isn't going
to run again. Maybe that is best.
I'm doing fine. Work hasn't slowed down, but it makes the day go faster.
Dexter and I went out to see the old French barracks and I took several
pictures. I'll send them to you.
All for now,
Fred

April 10, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I got back from Penang today. You know, they sent all my mail to Pleiku.
Don't know what caused that mix up. So I don't know when I'll be getting my
letters from you.
I hope you aren't mad at me for not writing for such a long time. I really
didn't have time to send a letter out when at Penang or how about doing it and
getting ready to leave took a lot of time too. I wanted to write before we
left, but didn't have as much time as I thought we were going to have.
I'm sending you all of the postcards I bought. The first day I didn't do
much but get my room and went around town. It's a beautiful place. Clean and
everything is nice. We got here around 5 o'clock. I cleaned up and took a tour
of the town till around 7:30. Went to a dance at the hotel and stayed till
around 11 then went to bed.
The next day went to see Sleeping Buddha. Some guy bothered me the entire
time I was there wanting to take my picture for $3.00. I told him no but he
kept bothering me. Then he took my picture but I told him I didn't want him to
take my picture and didn't pay for it. After that went back to the hotel,
cleaned up. Went to a place and bought some new clothes. Went to a movie. It
was in English but had Chinese subtitles under it. It was a good movie, but I
don't remember the name of it.
The next day took a tour of the city and saw all the big homes and after that
went swimming and went to another movie. This was a war movie, no subtitles.
After the movie went to a place and bought some records and a record player.
That night Dexter and I got together and went to a real fancy restaurant.
Had a great time.
The next day I went back to Sleeping Buddha and took some pictures with my
camera, went to another movie, and that night went to a Chinese night club where
Coke's cost $3.00!! I just bought one and made it last about two hours.
They had a Chinese singer and I thought she was good.
The next and last day I went to the top of Penang Hill, I guess the biggest
tourist attraction. Spent the entire day and had a lot of fun just looking at
everything. Wonderful place. Went to bed early and made ready to leave the
next day.
I took about 60 pictures and had a wonderful time.
I'll write again soon.
I'm not going back to Nellis. I'll be going to California. Mather AFB
wherever that is.
Fred

April 14, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Leonard is fine. I went R & R by jet. Stateside base is Mather. I'll tell
you about that later. Leonard is from Illinois. Things are just fine with
me. I have never seen "Dagora, The Space Monster." Time isn't going fast now.
Not for me. Not going to send the tux home now. I'll just pack it when I
leave. Bien Hoa is still "off limits."
I could use some underwear, size 28. I can't find underwear to fit me here
at all. Looking forward to the next care package, the last one was great. But
hold off on the sweets. Can't have them around long or the bugs get in them.
Now about Mather. I know you're dying (excuse that word) anxious to hear
about this. Mather is in Sacramento. It's about 30 miles from San Francisco, so
that means when I return I'll get about $1.80 travel pay. Maybe enough to
get a bus from San Francisco to Sacramento. Thank you Uncle Sam.
Anyway it will probably cost about $180 to get back to Hinton. This will be
a 17 day leave and it might be better if I wait a few months to take leave.
Maybe wait until around Christmas time so we can all be together for Christmas
and take 30 days. What do you think? If you want me to come home I will.
You asked how much I've saved. I have about $1,350 when I leave. But I
won't be able to get it till I'm stateside.
Fred

April 20, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I have just finished checking over my money. When I leave here I should have
$1,223.00 saved not counting the 10% interest. After that I should get one
more check. If I get paid here all the better for me. If I don't this is what
I plan to do.
I will go to San Francisco and from there to L.A. I'll stay there with a
friend, Tony Neidhard, and return to Mather to collect my pay and come home.
Tony is going to be stationed at Mather too.
I will be leaving here around the end of July, I think July 28, 1968. This
will put me in L.A. for four or five days. I may go to Nellis to get my pay.
I know that base and wouldn't have any trouble finding my way around. Might
find some old friends, never know.
I will be coming home. I will enjoy the rest and it's no sense waiting till
Christmas.
I think I'll take my money out of the bank there and put it in the bank in
Sacramento. They pay 5.5% interest. I'm also going to increase my bonds. They
are tax deductible and should lower my income tax.
I have several of them since I started buying them at Nellis.
All for now,
Fred

April 22, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Dear Mom (already said that). I've been checking into everything. When I
get to S.F. I can (if possible go to L.A.). A friend, you may remember, Tony
Neidhard, of mine lives in L.A. and he is going to find out if I can stay at his
home while there. You may remember I loaned him $90.00 when we were at
England AFB. If I have my pay sent to Nellis AFB I can catch a hop from Nellis to
somewhere on the east coast, I don't remember where, but that will save money.
My friend in Vegas is working at the Nellis base post office now. His name
is Tony Scaramosino. He might be able to help. I hope so, anyway we are
keeping in touch.
I feel like I'm getting out of shape and have been doing my sit-ups again.
I'm eating good and it seems every time someone sees me I've got something in
my mouth, ha! The other day Bill Bosien said, "I have never seen a guy as
little as you eat so much and not get fat." He works in the paint shop. Enough
of that.
Leonard is asleep now. Last night I got five hours and the night before only
three. I should be sleeping but can't. Insomnia?? I had been getting a
good 8 hours before, but I can't sleep now. I've been thinking about what I'm
going to do when I get to Mather. This is a SAC base and I really don't have
any training in SAC. It's all going to be different. I'll do all right, but I
don't know why they are moving me.
When I go to Mather I'm going to try to get an off base job if I can. I hope
I can stay there for the last two years. I wish I had been assigned to
Nellis. That really messed up my plans. If I do get an off base job that means
transportation. That means a motorcycle because I don't want a car now. I want
to get something that I can pay cash for and not make payments.
All for now.
Fred

May 1, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Another month is over, and another day closer to home. Putting another $200
in my savings tomorrow. Hope I like Mather. People here say it is a good
base. Maybe I'll stay there for a long time.
All for now.
Fred

May 4, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Things are fine here. Hope you are fine too. Things seem to be settling
down finally. We were hit once early in April, I don't remember if I told you.
The NVA/VC hit us with 25 rockets on April 5. Someone here is keeping a
record on the wall. It has been quiet since than. Not much going on. Bien Hoa is
still "off-limits." Went to work, went to the BX, went to the Post Office,
came here and took a shower, did some cleaning and now getting ready for bed.
I might say on April 10 I decided to stop smoking. I was smoking two or two
and a half packs of cigarettes a day. Sometimes I would light one up right
after putting one out. So when I came back from R & R I decided to quit. I
haven't had a cigarette since April 10.
Things here are fine. Everything is great.
Fred

May 9, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
I wish you two would stop going after Doug so often. It seems he is always
going back and forth. The trip to Charleston is so long and down and back and
down and back every week or so is just to much. Every time I get a letter
saying you're going to get Doug. I wonder if this will be the last time? I even
dreamed once you had a bad wreck on the turnpike. There isn't any sense in
him coming home every weekend like that. I don't like it at all when Mother
makes the trip. I know when she gets back she is just plain worn out. So why
don't you try and find another way. How much longer is he going to be up there
anyway? You would think Doug wouldn't ask you to make the run so much.
Doesn't he know how hard it is for you? I'm glad David Morgan can drive. To bad
he doesn't have a car. What is wrong with Doug taking a bus? He could get a
bus to Beckley and that wouldn't be so bad.
To change the subject.
I got my orders today. I'll leave here the 26th of July, I hope. I have a
30 day leave and have to report to Mather after that.
I'm going to try to take one bag and send everything else ahead. I'll call
you when I hit the U. S. It's getting close to bed time. You can tell
everyone that I'm getting short.
The base got hit again on the morning of May 5. They hit us with 31 rockets
and 60 mortars around 3 that morning and again at 5:50 with 10 rockets. They
hit us again on the 7th with five rockets. Don't know if it will ever stop.
I'm fine, still tired, still working.
All for now,
Fred

May 13, 1968

Dar Mom and Dad,
Hope you are doing fine. Hope Doug is doing the same. I'm fine. Taking up
painting, my new hobby. Do you remember how Bill use to paint a lot before he
got married? I've been painting some and gave one of them to Leonard. Pete
is doing it too. I bought a set a few days ago and having some fun with it.
Where is Bill now? See if you can get his address for me. I would like to
send him a note sometime now that he is out of school.
We have had a few very small attacks, nothing to speak of. No one has been
hurt except one person tore his toe nail running down the steps.
I'm going to close now. Got a letter from Bobby Brydie. Got your package
and the money, thank you. Can't go into town, still off limits.
Fred

May 23, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Well! You know all the paper you sent me. It's gone. I don't know what
happened to it, but it disappeared. A few of the guys was helping me look for it
but we couldn't find it. I can write letters on this, but I'm sorry someone
took all the paper. Oh well! What can you do? Some people have had radios
stolen, me paper and underwear. When you sent me that last care package with two
packs of underwear in them, one of them disappeared.
For the past three days I've been sick. I'm getting better now. The first
day when it hit me, I asked to leave early, at 8, and just made it back here
before I lost my supper. I felt bad all that night yesterday. Went to see a
doctor. He gave me some pills and told me to stay in bed. That's where I am
now. Yesterday I wanted to throw up, but couldn't. Everyone seems to be
worried about me. They come by and ask when's visiting hours, or ask if I think I'm
going to make it, things like that. They tell me jokes and try to make me
feel better. They have been great to me. Good friends. Good people.
I feel much better today and might go back to work tomorrow. Strange, but I
look forward to getting back to work.
I had a bit of a scare a few days ago. Two by the way.
The first one. Our NCOIC (Noncommissioned Officer In Charge) got in trouble
because some of the weapons people needed hair cuts. So he said if everyone
didn't get a hair cut by Wednesday, he would take them and they would have less
hair than him. He doesn't have any.
One of the guys told me Captain White pointed me out to him one day on the
flight line and said "That kid has got to get a hair cut." This is before I got
sick. I got a hair cut and they took about 3 inches off leaving about 4. It
didn't look any shorter. In fact it looked longer. So I went in again
Thursday and got it cut again and that's when I got sick.
I'm going to go now. The other thing isn't so important. Not much more that
I can add to this except I have around 64 days to go. I'm counting down too.
Fred

May 23, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Forgot to put in the picture of Dexter and me. Went to see the doctor and
should work tomorrow. Be glad to get back to work. I'll start sending
everything home when I get down in the 50's. (days to go).
All for now,
Fred

May 24, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Yes next month is my birthday. Hold off on everything till I get home. I'm
going to send my things home soon. I don't want to carry anything with me if
I can help it.
We lost another pilot today. He was the youngest one. I knew him. He was a
nice guy. This makes three now.
I'm reading "Yes I Can." A good book. This is my second time reading it.
Fred

June 1, 1968

Dear Mom,
Well! This starts another month. Today I left the 604th ACS. I'm now in
the 303 MMS. I'm going to enjoy the new change. It looks like I'll be getting
two days off a week in this squadron. That's a big change. I have today and
Sunday off. That's good. Right now I'm in the 604th and 303 at the same
time. Tomorrow I'll sign out of the 604th and Birdsong won't be over me. This
I'm very happy of. Birdsong is a nice guy, after you get to know him, but he
has turns and temperaments that's hard to deal with. I like him, but I also
like being out from under him.
I sent my things home yesterday. You might not get them till the end of the
month. After you get the box open it and get everything aired out and
cleaned. Dry clean everything. Hat and all. I put the record player in a small box.
It has six batteries in it. I would like for you to take them out.
Everything is fine on this end. Not putting any money in the bank this time.
Going to use it to get back home.
Fred

June 8, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
What ails the U. S.? It seems that everyone is getting killed. Now another
Kennedy. I would have cast my vote for him. He was on the right path. Then
some Sirhan killed him. He was 24 and I hope they give him 90 years at hard
labor. Too many leaders with a vision and voice are being killed. Will it
ever end?
Going to get a hair cut today. Going over two years in the Air Force on the
16th. Only two more years to go and no more Air Force for me.
Can't wait to get back home. I know the time will go fast. I'm looking
forward to seeing everyone, playing my records and just relaxing for a while. At
least I'll be able to sleep. It won't be as noisy and it might be hard at
first. But I look forward to getting back home.
How many days? About 50? Still a long time. I remember when you came down
to England. I hated to see you leave. I watched you pull out and when I
couldn't see you any more I went to my room. Everyone was asleep and I put a
towel over the lamp so I could see and cut it on. I looked for the nuts you had
bought me and there was only two. I had to laugh. I cut off the light and
tried to go to sleep, but it wasn't any good. I stayed up and thought about the
trip and the month before when I was home. I didn't stay home very much. This
time it will be different. I'll stay home and we'll all have a good time.
Fred

June 17, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Glad to hear that Aunt Jossie and Uncle Guy came down for a visit. That must
be some nice weather you are having. I hope it is hot went I get home.
Don't know if I could stand any cold at all.
About 39 days to go. I still think about the time when you were at England
AFB. I think I had more fun then, then the time when I was at Hinton on leave.
When I come home this time, I might bring someone with me, Dexter. I was
talking to him about it today. He might and he might not. Might not know till
the day comes. He said he would like to see a coal mine. Talked about going
to Cass Scenic Railroad. I would like for him to stop over, maybe for the
night or two. It would take a day to go to Cass. I'm looking forward to the day
when I can come in the house and say "I'm HOME." Maybe I won't go to Mather.
Just stay home with you. Ha! Every MP in the world would be in Hinton.
Not much more to add. The new squadron, 303, is fine. Same people, same
work, but not as tense. Birdsong is here, but Cowan is the top man. He is OK.
Fred

June 22, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Tomorrow will make a year ago when you and Doug came down to England and we
went to New Orleans. Getting close to the end of my year here. The way I see
it I have four more Saturdays to go. That last Saturday is July 20. Maybe
I'll be gone. Anyway Saturday is my day off. Nice to know when you have a day
off.
Did you get my box? Don't forget to take the batteries out of the record
player.
I'm not sure of the exact day I'll leave, but I think it will be July 26.
Maybe earlier, but not later. I have seven envelopes so you might send about
four more. I think that is all I'll need.
If it isn't too much trouble could you send some chocolate chip cookies and
maybe some crackers or something?
Work is easier here now. I don't mind it at all. Even wish I could come
back to the same job.
Looking forward to coming home. I want some of your great home fried pork
chops, biscuits and brown gravy. Corn on the cob and real mashed potatoes.
Your wonderful home made apple pie and ice cream. I miss those wonderful home
cooked meals and look forward to all of us sitting down together and enjoying it
together at the same time.
Fred

June 29, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
The last Saturday this month. I'm getting short now. Nice!!! Today is my
day off. I went down and got my check cashed and went to the BX to buy a new
duffle bag. The old one was coming apart. What I can't get in the bag will
stay here.
Didn't do much today.
There isn't a thing more I can say. Getting ready to go to bed. Don't write
after the 20th of July. I'll be gone before that letter reaches me. I'm
closing my Post Office box on the 25th. I'm looking forward to being home.
This is all I can say now.
Fred

July 6, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Did I ever enjoy the cookies and crackers. They were great and thank you for
sending them. I will not leave here till the morning of the 25th. So you
should stop writing on the 20th of July. I won't be here to get those letters.
Things are really fine here now. Not much is going on. I have moved again.
I'm in the same barracks, but up stairs. I'm in a cubical by myself, which
is OK. But it doesn't have much space and no privacy to myself at all. I
don't like it. I don't like it at all. But for 19 days I can make it. This is
what they do to you when you have worked a year and you're getting short.
I don't even have sheets and a pillow case.
It's raining outside. Getting a lot of rain now. Nothing is going on. Not
much more to say. Haven't been in town since January.
Nothing to add,
Fred

July 13, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
Getting short now. Last night I didn't sleep at all. I hope I can get home
by the 27th.
By the time you get this letter I will have stopped working here. But I will
be busy getting ready to leave. It will be like a mad-house around here that
last week.
I'm sending you about 60 slides that I took over the last few days. They
will be coming to you in the mail.
It's just like it was when I first got here. Every time a gun goes off I'll
jump.
Been going to the movies almost every night. They don't have movies on
Monday and Tuesday.
I haven't been doing much reading. Haven't had that much time and have so
many unread books. I wanted to read them but don't see how I'll be able to do
it now.
It's quite here now. Everyone is getting ready for lights out and I'm going
to do the same and go to sleep. Have to get up at 6:00 to go to work. Start
processing off the base on the 15th. One more work day. Ha!
See you soon!
Fred

July 21, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,
This might be my last letter before I'm out of here. Have almost completed
my processing off base and only have three more things to do before the 24th.
On the 24th I get paid and pick up my pay records then the next thing is to
get my medical records and all the other records and that is it.
I'm over at the Airmen's Club now. Drinking a coke and have just finished a
Cheeseburger. They have the best Cheeseburger here. The best on base. Only
35. The Airmen's Club has only been open for about two months. They just
got it built. It is air-conditioned and real nice. They have a band almost
every night.
I had a little trouble when I turned in my tools. I had lost about 20 and I
thought they were going to make me pay for them, but they didn't. I'm glad of
that.
I went to get my boarding pass Wednesday and found out I could only pick it
up on Saturday and Monday. So I went down to get it at 1:00 and they (the
almighty they) had a sign up saying "Closed All Day Sat." (the 20th). Boy was I
tight jawed. So now I'll have to do that Monday.
See you next week,
Fred